News October 2019

STS projects - Plastics

Refill Hadrian's Wall was launched by STS, Sustainable Brampton and Sustainable Carlisle at a meeting on a wet and windy September day at the cafe at Slack House Organic Farm in Gilsland and on the Wall at Birdoswald. Our initiative received messages of support from Lady Jane Gibson, chair of 'Hadrian's Wall Partnership,' and Northumbria Water. Several STS volunteers have already been busy signing up local businesses - look out for the blue 'Refill' stickers in participating cafes and shops. Do get in touch for some stickers if you can help to recruit refill premises.

Point of sale packaging in Haltwhistle

Please let me know about local shops and take-aways that offer non-plastic point of sale packaging - paper bags for loose veg, cardboard rather than polystyrene boxes - or are happy to fill your own containers with loose produce and ready-to-eat foods. I'll promote these businesses in this newsletter and will write a piece for local parish magazines.

Zero Waste Shop

Haltwhistle Partnership is continuing to research and develop a business plan for a zero waste shop in the town, potentially in their existing office in Main Street. As part of this there's a short survey to gauge local community support, please take a few minutes to fill it in:
Any other enquiries about this initiative please contact Julie Gibbon:

STS Projects - Energy

The heat from mine water idea has also made progress. Our initial researches led us to approach the Swimming and Leisure Centre as they might be able to significantly reduce their energy costs by extracting heat from mine water below their property. The feasibility study proposal we put to the Centre trustees recommends undertaking a full audit of potential energy resources including expanding the existing PV and examining the feasibility of a micro hydro project in the Burn.
Community Action Northumberland (CAN) have also been approached to support the project and we hope that their expertise will assist us with the Rural Community Energy Fund application proces and, if successful, CAN will run the community consultation aspects of the feasibility study and pull together the technical input from other contractors.
This project is now being led by a small steering group, if you would like to join, please get in touch.

STS Projects - Verge Walks

Lesley Silvera led two verge walks for us this year along roadsides that Northumberland has now agreed to protect with signage and manage to conserve species diversity. On the Thorngrafton verge 64 species of flowering plants were identified including small scabious, quaking grass, and twayblades. At Markham, where this photo of the sign was taken, we found 47 flowering plant species including quaking grass, a group of orchids with clasping leaves (they'd finished flowering so we couldn't ID them), woolly thistle and lots of devils bit scabious.

STS - Award nomination

STS has been nominated by Ruth Dickinson, Northumberland National Park's Community and Rural Enterprise Officer, for the Group category of the 2019 UK National Park Volunteer Awards. I filled in the application form detailing the variety of projects that we have been involved in which have contributed to the understanding and conservation of the Northumberland National Park's special qualities. Short-listed entrants will be notified early in October so it's fingers crossed as I send out this newsletter!

Another Waynwright Day

On a less than brilliant day at the end of August a small party from STS travelled to the Lake District to support the launch of teenager Amy Bray's 'Another Way' charity. This charity aims to spread the message that we need to live more lightly on our planet and support people to make more sustainable lifestyle choices. 50 environmental organisations and schools participated in the launch event, Another Waynwright Day, with over 600 people walking up 121 Lakeland Fells. In a change of plan (Carrock Fell, surmounted by Sustainable Brampton, was our original destination) we chose to walk up Gowbarrow Fell in the company of the Fell's farmers, Sam and Claire Beaumont. Sam and Claire are embarked on a radical change which puts maintenance of the natural beauty of the landscape and enriching wildlife at the centre of their farming policy. For further info see:

Call for craftspeople & food producers

The STS run Green Christmas Craft Fair will take place in the function room of the Greenhead Hotel on Sunday 8th December. The farmers' market with the usual array of local produce plus extra seasonal goodies will be in the village hall on the same day.

Craftspeople working with natural materials, recycled or upcycled goods are particularly welcome, contact
Food producers contact

Apple Day

Transition Tynedale will be celebrating the apple harvest at Hexham Farmers' Market on 12th October. There'll be apple pressing, juice and apples to taste, and experts on hand to help with identification. Great fun for all.

Acorn Bank, the National Trust's property at Temple Sowerby near Penrith, has over 175 varieties of the fruit growing in their orchards. Throughout October weekend visitors are invited to sample the fruit and visit the orchard. Acorn Bank is specially proud of the many varieties particularly suited to our northern climate.
Full details at:

GO Gilsland Community Vehicle

The G-Gaxy, Gilsland's community hybrid vehicle, was officially launched on Sept 11th. This bold, ground breaking initiative seeks to provide an environmentally and financially sustainable solution to the transport problems in a village that, until recent years, was well served by the regular Newcastle to Carlisle bus service which used to leave the A69 and pass through the village. And, going back a few more years, trains used to stop at its station...
The new community vehicle aims to supplement the meagre and poorly timetabled daily bus service to Haltwhistle and the once-a-week bus service to Brampton, offering local people the possibility of getting to morning appointments in town and tired walkers a ride back to their B&B after a meal out.
G-Gaxy availability is currently restricted by the limited number and availability of drivers - more needed, please contact Wendy if you can help - in October it is definitely available on Thursday, Saturday and Sunday mornings, and Monday, Friday and Sunday afternoons. Outside these times it's always worth calling as there may be a driver available.
Tel: 0739-9993979

South Tyne Wildlife Group

Tuesday, October 8th Steve Gater; "The Wonders of Upper Teasdale"
The Comrades Club, Central Place, Haltwhistle at 7.30p.m. £3 pay on door, all welcome.

Hats Off To Mike Mc Guire

In September Councillor Mike McGuire presented Haltwhistle Town Council with a comprehensive paper on Climate Change with suggestions for Council policy in each of the following action areas:
o Sources, distribution and storage of energy
o Transport
o Homes and businesses
o Trees and other plants
o Food and farming
o Recycling
The last section of Mike's document recomended the Council to plan for the next 50 years during which major changes will be forced upon us all and, in order to emerge as a better, stronger community Mike said: "We need a plan, very soon, and we need to persuade the people of Haltwhistle it is a plan worth following." STS would very much support the Council in drawing up such a plan for policy and action.

Would you be interested in an Ecobricks workshop?

The workshop is 4 hours long and is delivered by a trained Ecobricks trainer. The bricks are made with single use plastics and are plastic bottles stuffed with bags. The workshop will include the type of structures that can be built from Ecobricks.
Contact Maureen Laurie to express an interest and for details of other Let's Get Together events and activities.

Get in touch
Any questions, comments or contributions to this monthly e-newsletter?
Please contact 016977 47359

South Tyne Sustainability aims to reduce the impact of the community of Haltwhistle and surrounding villages on our environment. This will help individuals, families and our community save money and resources and ensure a more sustainable future for us all.

To join STS contact Sue Seymour, 016977 47359